Italian legal expert slams India's Supreme Court ruling on marines

Published: 27th April 2013 09:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th April 2013 09:55 AM   |  A+A-


An Italian legal expert has criticised India's top court for ruling that a national anti-terror body will continue to probe the two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fisherman, meaning the pair could face the death penalty.
"India is continuing to violate international law and Italy must keep battling to have the two marines tried by Italian courts," Angela Del Vecchio, a lecturer in international law at Rome's private LUISS university, told Adnkronos.
Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, ratified by Italy, a state may refer a disputed case to an international judge or to third-party arbitration, Del Vecchio noted.
"The problem is that Italy doesn't want to do this. I don't understand why," she said.
India's Supreme Court ruled Friday that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) would continue to probe the case of Italian riflemen Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who are charged with murder over the shooting of two fishermen off the coast of the southern state of Kerala in February 2012.
Italy argued that the case should be investigated by police and not the NIA which probes and prosecute crimes that fall under India's maritime safety act, a legislation which says offences that cause "death to any person" shall be punished with death.
Earlier in April, the NIA charged the two men with murder and violating maritime safety laws.
The Italian government returned the marines to India last month to end an escalating diplomatic standoff, after New Delhi promised Rome that they would not not face capital punishment. Latorre and Girone say they mistook the fishermen as pirates while protecting an Italian oil tanker and Italy claims the incident took place in international waters, meaning India should not have jurisdiction over the case.
There was strong opposition in Italy to the return of the marines for trial by a special court in India and Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi resigned in protest in March.
"This incident has been affected by the Italian electoral campaign and by the fact that Italy is the homeland of (Congress party chief) Sonia Gandhi," said Del Vecchio. She did not elaborate.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp